More than 17,000 people have signed a petition calling for evangelical pastor Franklin Graham to be fired for his support of former President Trump following the deadly Capitol riot.
The petitioners are demanding that Graham be dropped from the Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), according to the Charlotte Observer. The petition was drawn up by the Christian organization Faith America, which criticizes Graham’s “idolatry” of the former president.
“With blasphemous preachers like Graham blessing Trump’s Big Lie and pretending ‘antifa’ was behind the attack, it’s no wonder the failed coup featured crosses and ‘Jesus saves’ banners and flags. Graham and the religious right must be held accountable for their deadly dishonesty,” said the petition.
Faithful America accused Graham of propagating Trump’s baseless claims of electoral fraud, claims that were at the base of inflaming the rioters that stormed through the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Graham is the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham. He is currently the chairman, president and CEO for both organizations he is being called to be removed from.
In a press release, Faithful America argued that Franklin Graham’s actions went against his own late father’s teachings. Though he had been a spiritual adviser for several presidents, Billy Graham had argued in the past against mixing religion and politics.
Billy Graham once said in 1981 interview, “It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.”
A representative for both the Samaritan’s Purse and the BGEA said they would stand by Franklin Graham.
“The Boards of Directors for Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association have expressed that they fully support Franklin Graham and are more than satisfied with the job he has done and is doing in leading these ministries,” said Paul Saber, board member of both organizations, in a statement to the Observer.
Source : The Hill